Over 50 foreign-based athletes mostly from Europe and the United States of America have arrived in the country ahead of this week’s All-Nigeria Championships billed for Sapele, Delta State.
This year’s All-Nigeria Championships which will serve as the Olympics trials Nigeria’s representatives in Rio is expected to be keenly-contested as athletes across the world have paid their way through to get a chance to fight for places in the compact squad being planned by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.
“Yes, the athletes have started arriving; to show the zeal they have to represent this country, over 50 of them paid for their flight tickets to be part of this year’s All-Nigeria Championships,” AFN Head of Media and Communication Olukayode Thomas said in a press statement.
Thomas further confirmed that the cream of Nigerian athletics will be present in Sapele including Queen of tracks and one of Nigeria’s medal hopeful in Rio, Blessing Okagbare as well as the likes of Gloria Asumnu, Seye Ogunlewe among others
As earlier announced, the All-Nigeria Championships will hold on Thursday and Friday July 7-8 at the Sapele Township stadium while it will be closely followed by the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) Grand Prix, Warri Relays on Saturday July 9 at the same venue.
Already the Relay teams from South Africa, Botswana, Ghana and other parts of the world have signified their interest to be part of the Warri Relays.
The AFN President, Solomon Ogba in a recent chat with journalists said among other things, that the Warri Relays is targeted at putting the Nigeria relay team in good stead for a good show at the Rio Olympics.
“We are doing the relays because we have comparative advantage there to strive for medals. We are one of the very few countries that can boast of at least six average athletes in the short sprints, we must not lose sight of that advantage.” The AFN boss submitted.
It is on record that most of Nigeria’s medals at the Olympics have come from relay races and the country is hoping to explore the chance maximally in Rio.